IDF soldiers at a temporary checkpoint in the West Bank [File].
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Two Haaretz journalists – columnist Gideon Levy and photographer Alex Levac – were detained in the West Bank after they entered area A and allegedly cursed and spit at soldiers, the Judea and Samaria district police said on Monday afternoon. The two were released after about three hours of detention.
According to police, at 1:04 p.m. officers received a call from the IDF saying that soldiers manning a checkpoint at the entrance to Tulkarm said they had detained Israelis who entered Area A, where the Palestinian Authority has full security and civil control, without a permit and while being checked by the soldiers they “confronted them, causing a provocation and spitting and cursing at them.”
A police cruiser was dispatched and officers detained Levy and Levac, taking them for questioning at Samaria subdistrict headquarters, under suspicion of violating the ban on entering area A and for attacking soldiers.
Israelis have been banned from entering area A since the beginning of the second intifada, under an IDF order, but Israeli Arabs typically come and go freely, especially on weekends, and the ban is for the most part not enforced on journalists traveling to the area for work.Haaretz
issued a response to the incident, saying: “The role of the army and police is to assist the vital work of journalists and not to sabotage it under false pretenses, and certainly not to arrest journalists performing their jobs.”